On January 24, 2020, Tordotcom published the third installation in the series History and SFF that I am writing for them. This time I talked about history, Big Data, and Malka Older’s amazing trilogy The Centenal Cycle. If you haven’t read those books yet, I highly recommend that you do. They are so good!
History and SFF: Big Data and The Centenal Cycle by Malka Older
My family’s first computer had a 41 MB hard drive. I saved my carefully crafted teenage observations of life on 1.5 MB floppy discs that never seemed to be filled to capacity. Two years later, I moved away to go to college. I brought with me a laptop computer with a 240 MB hard drive. I was a very proud owner of this technological marvel, even though I had no idea what to do with all that storage space. Since 2005, we have been living in the age of Web 2.0 and Big Data. Now, I download 240 MB of data every time I update the apps on my smartphone.
The exact origins of the term “Big Data” might be in dispute, but its meaning is clear. Big Data gets its name from the enormous amounts of digital information generated, collected, and stored every second.
Big Data includes all the data generated by users on the internet. As soon as you go online, internet providers, social media platforms, newspapers, stores, communication apps, and blog platforms trace your every move and store your data for later use or sale.
Malka Older’s novel Infomocracy, part one of The Centenal Cycle trilogy, presents one version of what a future dominated by Big Data might look like.
In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.